Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Canon XF300/XF305 news

The new Canon 4:2:2 solid-state camcorders, the XF300/XF305, are expected at the end of June, and a few initial hands-on reports are already starting to appear. A lot of questions remain - many of which won't be answered until users have them out in the field - but Chuck Westfall, technical information advisor, Professional Engineering and Solutions Division, Canon U.S.A., Inc. provided some answers to a few questions I had about the cameras:

Canon XF305

What is the situation with the Editing environments support? Will the developers be releasing updates in time for shipment of the camera? What will end users have to do to be able to edit the 50Mbps 4:2:2 video?

Canon has already worked together with the 4 major NLE (Non-Linear Editing) software providers, namely Adobe, Apple, Avid and Grass Valley, to ensure full compatibility of XF series video even before the cameras have been delivered to the market.

Canon will supply plug-in software for Apple's Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer software applications, while Adobe and Grass Valley will supply plug-ins for Adobe Premiere Pro and Edius Pro, respectively.

Canon's XF Codec uses an industry-standard MXF (Materials eXchange Format) file wrapper with MPEG-2 compression. As a result, users will be able to import XF video directly into the 4 major NLE software applications available on the market, as soon as the XF series camcorders are shipped.

What specs are required for the Compact Flash cards?
UDMA-compliant CF cards are recommended. These cards must meet the minimum transfer rate for the shooting mode selected, ranging from 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps.

What's the difference between the Dynamic and Powered modes of the Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS)?
Dynamic IS is recommended for wide-angle focal lengths, especially when the camera operator is walking while recording video. Powered IS is recommended for maximum stability at telephoto focal lengths,

Why the switch to CMOS? Any concern about rolling shutter?
Canon CMOS sensors are well known for high sensitivity, fine detail and low noise. Additionally, CMOS sensors are superior to other types in terms of power consumption. The XF305 and XF300 use a high-speed scanning method to reduce rolling shutter artifacts.

Are batteries from the XH A1 compatible with the XF series, and vice versa?
All XH A1 battery packs are compatible with the XF series. The new BP-955 standard battery pack for the XF series is compatible with the XH A1, but the BP-975 extended capacity battery pack for the XF series is not compatible with the XH-A1. (The BP-975 is too tall to fit into the XH A1's battery compartment.)

B&H Photo: XF300 $6,799.00
B&H Photo: XF305 $7,999.00

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